Roses are red, violets are blue. …
And someone insert the needle scratch here, because you know love rarely lives up to Hallmark standards.
This being February, we’re going to devote a little time to love and relationships, and who better to dispense advice than someone who’s been manhandled by both?
Here, in no particular order of importance, are a few reminders of what not to do if you actually want to be satisfied in your love life. Mind you, these are intentionally written with a certain degree of biting cynicism. It adds color and will hopefully succeed at making the advice stick a little longer.
Don’t Hold Out for the Perfect Match
Maybe you’ve heard the expression: There is no such thing as the perfect church, and if you find it, do not join it lest you make it imperfect. No one’s suggesting you should settle, but keep looking for the exact, right match and you’ll just grow old. Besides, even if you did find the perfect person, what guarantee do you have they’ll want you too?
Don’t Seek the Prettiest Face
Beauty is great in the moment. In time, however, this too shall fade, and then you’ll need to rely on the appeal of their personality to carry you forward. Is this someone you will be able to stand in your 60s and beyond? It makes little sense to turn heads in public if, behind closed doors, you secretly want their head on a spike.
Don’t Put Anyone on a Pedestal
Did you fall in love with someone, or the idea of that someone? No one is perfect. They will inevitably do something that irritates the hell out of you. Rest assured that pendulum swings both ways. The sooner you accept their poop stinks as much as yours, the sooner you’ll accept them for who they are and not who you want them to be.
Don’t Expect Love to Find You
Love at first sight? Dubious but possible, but you won’t even catch a glimpse if you don’t get out of your own way. You’ll never learn what you don’t like unless you experience it once. Sure, love is a risk, but then, so is leaving your house. Remember, sometimes people get tired of knocking.
Don’t Date Out of Your Intellectual League
Birds of a feather fly together for a reason. If you find great joy in discussing foreign affairs, but they find greater joy in discussing furbies, you’re inevitably going to hit a crossroad. Pick wisely, or the only place that road will take you is boredom.
Don’t Start Coloring the Past in Fluffy Shades of Rose
Loneliness is a clever devil. It has a way of rewriting history and softening rough edges. People generally do not break up on a whim. Before you reach back out to that ex and lull your heart into believing it wasn’t as bad as you thought, remember you broke up for a reason. It is better to be alone than to be poorly accompanied.
Don’t Pretend Like Relationships Are Half and Half
Emotionally speaking, whoever believes love is 50/50 only got half the memo. That’s a great way to start keeping score, and score keepers are rarely satisfied. Put your best foot forward, or accept the reality that the other foot is already looking for a way out of the relationship.
Don’t Buy into the Nonsense that Happy Wives Make for Happy Lives
It’s a pile of fresh horse manure. In a healthy relationship, the only 50% that makes sense is in the division of labor and decision making. Pick your battles to be sure, but the more disagreements you concede for the sake of keeping your partner happy, the longer the chain you’ll wrap around your spirit. Rise, or fall, on your combined efforts.
Don’t Lose Your Independence
Men who exclusively concentrated on keeping their wives happy likely lost their testicles. Women who exclusively concentrated on keeping their husbands happy likely lost their freedom, and the kicker is that even after all that devotion, you both still run the risk of losing the relationship. Nothing is guaranteed. Other than God, never become too dependent on any one person or thing. You will always be your most reliable resource.
Don’t Believe All Arguments Need to be Resolved Before You Go to Sleep
This notion was likely born back in the days when all people had to entertain themselves was each other. It’s probably not a good idea to tune out a disagreement with Netflix or Spotify, but the idea that all problems need to be fixed the same day denies both sides the room to decompress, regroup, and reconsider.
And, hey, because I like you so much, I’ll throw a couple bonus points your way.
Don’t Wait Until After the Relationship to Shape Up
People, especially divorced people, sometimes have a way of smashing the reset button after the relationship is dissolved. Generally speaking, this is a healthy thing, but consider what could have happened if you had gotten help, dropped the weight, lost the bad habits, spruced up your image, or whatever improvement you felt you needed while you were still in the relationship?
And your second bonus:
Don’t Forget to Give Sex Its Proper Due
Here’s an interesting tidbit you probably never pondered. When things are going well, sex will be 10% of your issues. When the relationship is on the rocks, sex will be 90% of your problem. Let that soak in a while, and let me know what you come up with in the comments.
Exceptions? Yeah, there are always exceptions.
Also, remember these observations are tinged with personal bias, in some cases inspired by past experiences. Your mileage will vary, but on the whole, I believe these reminders are true.
Disagree? Alright, let’s hear it. You know where to leave your comments.